ITT Exelis , BAE Systems Inc. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. will team up to bid for a much anticipated Air Force contract worth as much as $3 billion, the companies confirmed Tuesday. They will compete against The Boeing Co. and other contracting mainstays for the opportunity to operate and maintain space launch ranges on both coasts of the Untied States.
The news that these three companies will establish a joint venture to compete for the contract, likely be to be awarded in 2013, doesn’t come as an enormous surprise. They were among the potential prime offerors announced by the Air Force in January, along with Bechtel National Inc., Boeing and Raytheon Technical Services Co., among others.
“We looked at the costs associated with the opportunity, and the joint venture offered the most streamlined approach for taking advantage of all the experience” that these three companies had to offer, said Pat Carr, vice president and general manager of C3 Systems at McLean-based ITT Exelis.
The Launch and Test Range System Integrated Support Contract will consolidate three current contracts that support the Air Force’s space launch ranges:
Operation of the Western Range at Vandenberg AIr Force Base in California, which is currently held by Indyne in Reston.
Operation of the Eastern Range at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, held by a joint venture between Falls Church-based Computer Sciences Corp. and Raytheon Technical Services in Dulles.
Maintenance and repair of both ranges, held by ITT Exelis with subcontractor support from New York-based L-3 and BAE Systems in Arlington.
“We have proven performance for 50 years working on ranges at different times,” Carr said. “Since 2000, our team has supported over 280 launches” of satellites, as well as missile tests.
A request for proposals will be released this year for the contract, which will call for launch vehicle command destruct, communications, weather monitoring, radar operations, telemetry, data handling and modeling and simulation. The Air Force is expected to incorporate a requirement for the winning contractor to divvy up as much as 25 percent of the work to small business subcontractors, Carr noted.
by Jill R. Aitoro, Senior Staff Reporter
April 17, 2012